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My Garden Diary

January and February 2017

Copyright © 2017 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site.

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


January-February 2013
March-April 2013
May-June 2013
July-August 2013
September-October 2013
November-December 2013
January-February 2014
March-April 2014
May-June 2014
July-August 2014
September-October 2014
November-December 2014
January-February 2015
March-April 2015
May-June 2015
July-August 2015
September-October 2015
November-December 2015
January-February 2016
March-April 2016
May-June 2016
July-August 2016
September-October 2016
November-December 2016

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012

Entries below are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. Dates without years, however, may refer to entries on prior pages for the same year.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
12 Feb

Clear, sunny, and cool

Temp: 49-64
Winter chill: 236.3 hours
Humidity: 37%
Wind: 4-23 (gusts to 39)

Rain —
This season: 14.40
Week: 1.83

So far in the current rain-year, we have had more rain locally than in 11 of the past 13 rain-years. And those were complete rain-years while we are only into the fifth month of the current rain-year with another storm expected less than a week from now. While most of California has experienced very significant rain and snow, a few areas (not desert) still remain dry. Also, so much water was extracted from underground aquifers during the recent drought that we cannot assert that the drought is over until the aquifers are replenished.

Finished pruning my roses. Then I went shopping for a 'Color Magic' hybrid tea rose to replace the one in back that died. This was a wasted effort because no one seems to have that variety.

29 Jan

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 70-85
Winter chill: 230.3 hours
Humidity: 15%
Wind: 7-32 (with gusts to 48)

Rain —
This season: 12.03
Week: 0.0
Days since last: 42

This was the first day in quite a while that my availability and good weather coincided to make working in my garden enjoyable.

Although southern California is still considered to be afflicted by drought, the soil in my garden is still quite wet, thanks to a thick mulch of leaves. And more rain is possible towards the end of the new week.

Cut two branches of sage (Salvia officinalis) for my wife, who needed it to make garlic sage bread. The result was tasty.

Pruned the climbing 'Peace' rose. Climbing roses take much more effort to prune than shrumb roses. Not only are the branches much longer — many requiring a pruning saw instead of shears — but also they seem to have many more thorns per inch of branch. This latter means that I have to be much more careful reaching into the branches and picking up the cut branches. The most vigorous of my three climbing roses, 'Peace' now stretches more than 15 feet along the top of the slough wall at the bottom of My Hill.

15 Jan

Mostly thin clouds, hazy sunny, and cold

Temp: 46-55
Winter chill: 131.5 hours
Humidity: 82%
Wind: 3-16

Rain —
This season: 7.59
Week: 1.75

Yesterday, I had someone mow the red fescue (Festuca rubra) lawn in back. It has been two years since this ornamental grass was cut. A year ago, it had not grown much since the prior cutting because of the reduction in irrigation mandated during the drought. By now, however, it had grown enough that it was difficult to rake leaves from it. As noted earlier (8 Jan), fallen leaves from The Tree will become so dense that they will cause dead patches of grass; so mowing was important at this time.

Finished pruning the peach tree. I also did some very light pruning of the dwarf tangelo (Citrus reticulata × paradisi), merely removing some dead twigs and poorly placed branches. Unlike the peach, citrus requires no real pruning to promote fruit.

I am thinking of buying some aluminum flashing to wrap around the trunks of my fruit trees to keep squirrels from stealing my fruit. I will wait until fruit is almost ripe as I have noticed even the squirrels prefer tree-ripened fruit. I will not be able to use the flashing on my dwarf citrus or pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) because they branch so close to the ground. However, I will try it on my peach and 'Macbeth' loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) and then reuse the flashing on one or two grape vines.

8 Jan

Started clear but with increasing clouds, mostly sunny (sometimes hazy), mild

Temp: 57-71
Winter chill: 118.5 hours
Humidity: 33%
Wind: 4-10

Rain —
This season: 5.83
Week: 1.15

The patios and paths in back are buried in mounds of leaves because the garden-waste bin is now full with leaves from the front. I have to keep the leaves from The Tree off the grass. Otherwise, they form such a thick layer that they smother the grass and leave dead patches. This is not a problem in my shrub and flower beds. There the leaves form a mulch that buffers the impact of rain so that the moisture can soak into the soil instead of running off. In the summer, this mulch will keep the soil cool and moist, reducing the need for irrigation.

Pruned the 'Iceberg' rose in back. Now all shrub roses are done.

Pruned another major limb of the peach tree.

6 Jan

Mostly clear with a few thin clouds, sunny, and cold

Temp: 45-57
Winter chill: 117.5 hours
Humidity: 35%
Wind: 1-11

Rain —
This season: 5.43
Week: 0.87

Pruned another rose in front ('Honor') and a rose in back ('Sunsprite'). I will cut 'Iceberg' in back soon although it is covered with blooms. After that, three climbers — 'Dublin Bay' and 'Peace' in back and '4th of July' in front — remain to be cut.

Pruned the peach tree in back some more. Peaches and other stone fruits thrive with a framework of spreading branches and without a central leader. I removed several vertical branches today, including a substantial vertical limb.

When the roses and peach have all been pruned, I will still have three grape vines on My Hill to prune. They will have to wait until My Hill has dried somewhat from recent and anticipated rains. It is just too slippery to climb when wet.

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

Winter chill is the cumulative hours of temperatures at or below 45°F from 1 November through 31 March. It is reported during that period and through April.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year (our "rain-year"). Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no measurable rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also My Climate.
November-December 2016
September-October 2016
July-August 2016
May-June 2016
March-April 2016
January-February 2016
November-December 2015
September-October 2015
July-August 2015
May-June 2015
March-April 2015
January-February 2015
November-December 2014
September-October 2014
July-August 2014
May-June 2014
March-April 2014
January-February 2014
November-December 2013
September-October 2013
July-August 2013
May-June 2013
March-April 2013
January-February 2013

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012


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